Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life? 1 Cor 6:3 (KJV)

This verse says that we will judge angels, but this verse

6 But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him? 7 Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands: Heb 2:6-7 (KJV)

says that man is lower than the angels. Will we as humans, who are lower than the angels, in fact judge angels, who are higher than us? The citizen doesn't judge the judge; does the human judge the angel? And if so, when?

  • 2
    I always thought this meant that man was first made lower then the angels but that when God took human nature and then engrafted the elect into his Son through a mystical union by faith, man became possesors of the universe amd made above the angels in Christ. That is why 'all things are ours' however don't have time to work this out in a proper answer right now. Maybe someone else can.
    – Mike
    Commented Apr 20, 2015 at 9:35

3 Answers 3


The simplest way to reconcile these passages is to dispute the KJV's translation of βραχύ as "a little." This is, in fact, what most other translations have done, including those that have no interest in internal harmonization. The NET renders Heb 2:7 as follows:

Hebrews 2:6–8a (NET)

6 Instead someone testified somewhere:

"What is man that you think of him or the son of man that you care for him?

7 You made him lower than the angels for a little while.

You crowned him with glory and honor.

8a You put all things under his control,"

The NRSV, ESV, NASB, and CEB all translate this verse similarly, as "for a little while" or "for a short time"—a meaning well within the word's semantic range. The NIV is the only major modern translation that interprets βραχύ as a hierarchical rather than a temporal statement.

Here's the full entry from BDAG:

βραχύς, εῖα, ύ (Pind., Hdt. +) prim. ‘short’.

pert. to having little length, short, of space: βραχύ (so Thu. 1, 63, 2; 2 Km 16:1) διαστήσαντες_a little farther on_Ac 27:28.

pert. to being brief in duration, brief, short, of time: β. (τι) for a short time (Ael. Aristid. 13 p. 276 D.) Ac 5:34; Hb 2:7 (quotes Ps 8:6, which refers to rank; in Is 57:17 β. τι denotes time), 9;**μετὰ β. a little laterLk 22:58.**

pert. to being low in quantity, little, small (1 Km 14:29, 43; Jos., Bell. 1, 597, Ant. 9, 48 ἔλαιον βραχύ): _a small amount_β. τι_a little_J 6:7 (cp. Thu. 2, 99, 5). διὰ βραχέων_in a few words, briefly_Hb 13:22 (besides the exx. in FBleek ad loc., s. also Just., A I, 8, 3; Tat. 41, 3; Ocellus Luc. 35; Ptolem., Apotel. 1, 1, 3; Lucian, Toxaris 56; Ps.-Lucian, Charid. 22; Ael. Aristid. 13 p. 183 D.; Achilles Tat. 7, 9, 3; PStras 41, 8 διὰ βραχέων σε διδάξω; EpArist 128; Jos., Bell. 4, 338). LTrudinger, JTS 23, ’72, 128–30.—1 Pt 5:12 P72.—B. 883. DELG. M-M.

As you can see, the KJV's translation uses the third definition, but even then it's a bit of a stretch. Based on the information here, βραχύς seems to be more a quantitative than a qualitative term. "A little lower than the angels" implies that we are created with a substance that is intrinsically lower in rank or quality than angels. I don't think the text suggests anything like that.


If one reads the context of the first chapter and the second chapter, you will see that the author is talking about the glory, power, and eternal nature of Jesus.

In this regard the passage in Hebrews that is referencedis not directly relevant to the question, in that the text you are inquiring about is really addressing another issue. The verse,

6 But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him? 7 Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands:

Heb 2:6-7 (KJV)

Is not fundamentally about mankind, but rather Jesus. In the following verses,

Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him. 9But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. Hebrew 2:8-9

It goes on to say exactly who was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus. Being made into a human made him lower than the angels, therefore indirectly saying that humans are lower than angels, but that is not really the point of the text.

Therefore I'm not sure it can be used to answer your question directly.

However, Jesus was not always lower than the angels, but rather given a new body and nature after his resurrection. We too will be resurrected and given new bodies.

Therefore, here is the answer to your two part question:

1. While we are merely human, lower than the angels, we will not judge angels; however

2. We will judge them once we are higher than them in our glorified bodies.


It's about more about spiritual growth, character development, rather than composition of physical/ spiritual bodies.

To man, it is promised:

To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. Rev 3:21

Those who are closest to God's throne are the ones who have drank most deeply of God's fountain of self-denying love. Sinful man, through a relationship with their saviour, have a better understanding of the cross and the mystery of redeeming love, than angel who have never fallen.

which things the angels desire to look into. (1 Peter 1:12).

So while man was made "a little lower than angels" (see Psalm 8:5 version, it describes not just Jesus, but man in general), it is not necessarily the state he should stay in forever. Had Adam and Eve withstood temptation at the tree, it is entirely possible they could have grown in character. And while sin had its devastating consequences, those "who washed their robes through the blood of the lamb" (Rev 7:14), will through the merits of Jesus "be transformed by the renewing of the mind" (Rom 12:2), and be made "kings and priests unto God" (Rev 1:6).

Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen (Rev 1:5-6)

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